Embarrassed… But still sewing!

Apparently the name should have been “and she forgets to sew” based on the evidence in this blog! 2011 was a tough year… Mom was sick and diagnosed with cancer in March, work was beyond stressful, and sewing fell by the wayside in a big way. Not that I stopped entirely, but the occasions were few and far between.

Thankfully my friends Lorrie and Sharon kept me sewing a bit during our Tuesday sewing nights and I was occasionally able to attend ASG meetings to gain some inspiration. I’m sure I’ll catch up on some pattern reviews but for now I’m focused on the sewing to come in 2012!

Next weekend I’ll be attending the Nashua Sew & Vac retreat and I’ve cut out six projects this week – all in preparation for 3 lovely days of nothing but sewing. (big yay!)

And what do I have planned, you ask? Here’s the list as of Friday:

nook cover
draped neckline linen sheath
green  tweed sheath dress
orange and fuchsia border print dress
pink sundress and kerchief for niece
whimsical retro-ish apron
drab grey raincoat (previously cut)
yellow wool one shoulder dress (UFO)

Will I get them all done? Highly unlikely but I’ll have fun trying ūüėČ I also laundered some white knit and a green floral for pajama pants, a tank and a draped neck tee. We’ll see if I get those cut tomorrow…


a whole new year

And so much time to break resolutions! Writing has been on the back burner for months (clearly) but I have managed to get in the occasional sewing project. Currently I’m working on the Professional Bag from Creative Thimble and am thoroughly enjoying spending my Tuesday nights with two friends making a bit more progress each week. Unfortunately my camera has gone missing… at least since sometime in December so I’ve been horrible about taking any pictures. well, except the ones I take on my iphone – and let’s face it – those aren’t so great!

But moving on – let’s if I can even recall what I’ve worked on since the grand peacock party dress!

  • November – a butterfly-print quilting cotton tree skirt for a specialty Christmas tree
  • November – lined curtain panels for the living room – though they still need hemming, they are up
  • December – A red satin & velveteen cocktail dress – mostly from stash fabrics
  • December – aprons, neck wraps, eye masks, stockings, and oven mitts – all for christmas presents
  • January – partially constucted laptop bag – great Tuesday night project
  • January – 1911 drawers and chemise – part of Titanic Wardrobe project

Hmm… that doesn’t seem like so much now that I look it at it all together! However, I do have an increasing stash of fun fabrics including some gorgeous green and burgundy/green boucles. Perfect for chanel jackets or even a suit. Not that I wear suits… but I like the idea. A long coat is another idea… time to look at patterns!

I actually do have some resolutions for 2011 – So far I haven’t had to break them yet. Well – at least not the sewing resolutions!!

  1. To make, re-style, or otherwise re-purpose old clothes, rather than buying any new garments. Accessories may or may not be included in that – I haven’t decided yet!
  2. To accept any invitation to sew that I receive. I was feeling out of sorts and missed one ASG meeting… but I’ve decided to forgive myself for that one!

So now… to see what else happens in 2011! And maybe even keep track this time around…. ;o)

a few things with Kenneth King

Life’s been busy. And crazy. And sad. And every once in a while life is happy.¬† This past weekend was one of those happy times. The well-known couturier Kenneth King was in town to present a lecture and two classes. My head was filled with inspiration and ideas taken from his incredible photos of architecture and totally over-the-top finished coats, bags, and hats from his collection. And my hands? Well, my hands were kept busy learning a new technique to insert welted pockets, plus seeing the steps to create a ‘seamless’ pocket welt and a facing seam pocket for jacket or coat interiors.

Then the real fun happened… (after a quick break for sushi!) when Kenneth began the embellishments class. Of course pictures would help (they’ll get added sooner or later… I’m just happy to find a few minutes to write!) but all I can is that this class was so much fun. It involved layering braided trim, satin rattail cord, beads, and other such things onto a combination of silk and felt that had been basted together. As silly as it sounds… he taught some damn cool tricks – and yes, I’ll be adding his latest book to my collection! The embellishing process involved finishing the braid seamlessly and as someone who doesn’t take the time to be creative in such ways… it was immensely relaxing and I loved playing with all the bits and pieces and handsewing my way through all of it. I have grand plans to make an evening bag using the techniques… let’s see if that happens ;o)

All of events with Kenneth King were held at Unique Boutique Boston – my favorite place to sew (aside from own my couch or studio!) because there’s just a great atmosphere there. They have a bunch more classes coming up that I need to add to my calendar…

And if that wasn’t enough for one weekend… I spent late Sunday afternoon checking out the grand opening of Silk Road Fabrics and picking up some beaded red velvet trim for my in-progress cocktail gown. It was fun to visit all the pretty fabrics again – and amazing to run in to many of the same people that were at the Kenneth King programs the day before. (Apparently we were traveling in packs…) The weekend ended with the Pattern Review book launch party where I got meet the PR Founder, Deepika – as well as bunches of other fun people.¬† Plus Laura’s Sewing School, the host of the party – was super neat to check out. I got my new book signed and finally made my way home.

Yes, it was a happy weekend… and tough to return to work on Monday!


The finished 1692 silk damask mantua on display at the Witch House in Salem, MA

How sad that there’s not been much reporting here… Fortunately I have been finding time to sew, just not any time for photography or writing. Among my projects since May are:

  • the little black dress… actually has been worn in public!
  • Sulky Teacher Certification weekend… that was a mixed bag and deserves its own post with a few highlights and many entertaining low points
  • 1820s stays, bodiced petticoat, gown & bonnet… not perfect but willingly worn in public at Old Sturbridge Village for Militia Day in June
  • 1692 silk mantua… now on display at the Witch House in Salem (and look, I even have a picture of that!)
  • cotton stained glass dress… the latest project and even worn to work yesterday!
  • pumpkin pique maxi dress… worn many times but now in the laundry
  • BRAS!….¬† Took the best bra workshop ever and made three bras (although only the last one is the right fit) and in fact that’s probably the next project in line, too!

So… all in all,¬† not so shabby. Now to do some writing, reviews for PatternReview.com, and finish photographing everything. One of these days I’ll find more time! But as long as I can keep finding time to sew, we’ll it’s all good and I stay sane.

Vacation! (well.. almost)

I bought some black denim today (with stretch – ugh) and have high hopes to make a new pair of jeans tomorrow. Why? Because I’m on semi-vacation and I have free time!!! It’s just some 1% spandex black denim from Joann’s but the discount was crazy low and I wanted to keep playing jeans ;o)

Last night was a very big event for work – a colonial tavern dinner – and it was a smashing success, thanks to so many great volunteers who brought an 18th century house to life for the evening.¬† But.. phew! am I glad that it’s over. I’ve spent much of today sleeping and resting. And just to add a bit¬† of¬† fun, I’ve also started some new medication for arm & leg pain that is making me just a little bit loopy!¬† Driving (and thinking coherently) is out of the question for the first hour or two after each one.

This will make life interesting if nothing else!

There is one more work day on Saturday (outside and in the rain no less) and then a lovely eight days of making my own schedule.¬† And yes it will most certainly include some sewing! Dresses and jeans galore¬† – and just maybe some tops to go with all those jeans…

a bachelorette party ensemble

Hmm… I have a dress to wear to the wedding, but of course the bachelorette party happens first! In fact, we’ll be headed out on the town on Saturday evening, less than two days away. Eek.

After the success of the grey wedding guest dress, I’m itching to make something new… and something fun at that! So the hunt begins. I’m looking on instyle.com and through various pattern reviews, plus my own pattern & fabric stash. Nothing is jumping out at me although random ideas keep popping in and out my head. So far here are the contenders, in no particular order:

  1. Strapless black/red/grey plaid dress from my closet, with black tights, suede heels and a new fitted black sateen jacket. Or maybe velvet. Or velveteen. But definitely something I could wear with jeans after this weekend. Potential problem: Can I get a jacket made overnight?
  2. Make a new dress from New Look 6912 pattern (the grey wedding guest dress) but with the sleeveless, one-shouldered option, possibly shortening the skirt a tad more.  And in a fabulous evening type of fabric inspired by the stunning eggplant colored gown worn by Gwyneth Paltrow. Potential problems РA: When would I wear it again? B: Will I freeze to death wearing it on Saturday? C:  What shoes would I wear?
  3. Jeans, Boots (love my boots), Badgley Mischka jacket, a new halter or empire waist sleeveless top that hits mid-hip. Scarf with the sleeveless option. Possibly New Look 6893 for the top. Potential problems: Is this fun enough for a bachelorette party?

Clearly this isn’t going to get decided tonight. A trip to look at patterns, fabrics and possibly a detour to T.J. Maxx Runway is definitely in order. Aww shucks. What a shame!

Panic attacks not withstanding…

Today was NOT a good day. But since there are but 30 minutes left as I write this, I’m trying to move past it. The upside of today’s insanity was that I learned to operate a video camera. However there are too many downsides to include in a single post!

So… thinking positively and moving ahead instead.

My friend’s wedding is one month from today and I’m very excited for them both! She came over with her gown last night to be fitted for alterations. It needs a fair bit of taking in along the two front princess seams above the bust apex, but besides that it should just need hemming and bustling. So that should be an interesting project to take my mind off more stressful endeavors. And the silk is gorgeous.. as in stunning to look at, to touch, and of course, to work with! Can’t wait to dive further into the construction – always interesting to see how things are put together.

Of course, the bride will look fabulous when all is done and ready. But I, the seamstress,¬† have not yet figured out what I am going to wear to said wedding! So… this evening’s stress reducing endeavor is to search high and low through the pattern catalogs online to find the perfect something to make and wear for the wedding. And I haven’t even started to think about fabrics yet. Except that it shouldn’t be green, purple, or blue. Because that’s what the bridesmaids and/or moms are wearing. So that still leaves the field pretty wide open ;o)

Now off to the races, err… catalogs.¬† Hmm, really doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?